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The Paper: Large Numbers of Human Face Pictures Are Sold in China for Low Prices

Well-known new Chinese news site The Paper recently reported that a simple static portrait photo can be transformed into a video after special software processing. Such a video can be used in the facial recognition processes. Since China now regulates the use of mobile phone SIM cards, all SIM cards must be associated with real names. To battle the illegal use of static facial pictures, communications companies now require video responses to certain commands (like blinking) for authentication. Due to the high demand for SIM cards, some criminals are seizing the opportunity to forge people’s facial videos based on static pictures to pass the registration authentication processes. These videos are sold online in large volume for a few U.S. cents per face, which is coupled with actual personal profile information. Current Chinese laws do not specifically stipulate who has the right to collect facial information. Many companies now collect people’s facial information with very weak security measures for privacy protection. This has caused a massive loss of Personal Identifiable Information (PII) to hackers.

Source: The Paper, October 23, 2021